King’s Birthday Honours List: Worthing policing veteran made MBE
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John Willett has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to policing and to community cohesion in Sussex.
John, who works in the office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said: “I feel very honoured and humbled by this recognition.
"I got a confidential letter about a week ago and it was a complete surprise. I couldn’t really believe it.
"We’re told we can’t say boo to a goose so I kept quiet. I was thinking is King Charles really going to sign this off?”
John started as a police officer at the age of 18 in 1978.
“I’ve been around a long time,” he said. “I did 31 years as a serving officer in varying positions.
"That included secondments to Africa, the Middle East and China.
“For the last ten years or so, I’ve been working as the head of partnerships for the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. I’ve been championing and leading on her partnership engagement with a whole range of partners across Sussex.”
John was made responsible for ‘delivering key programmes’ and took a lead on major projects such as restorative justice and youth intervention programmes such as REBOOT.
He also helped to set up the violence reduction partnership in Sussex.
John added: "I have worked on improving partnership working across Sussex, working in particular with East and West Sussex county councils and Brighton and Hove City Council.
“It’s a great privilege to work with many professional individuals who make my life easier. I’m really honoured.
"I’ve been around 45 years in policing from tender age of 18 as a young beat officer in East Grinstead to now leading on partnership activity and engagement on behalf of the commissioner.
"I’ve been working in and around Sussex for a number of years and built up a network of colleagues. It’s a joy to come to work and I’m really motivated even at the ripe old age of 63. It’s not just my efforts but all those people around me as well.”
Sussex PCC Katy Bourne OBE said the award of an MBE was a ‘very fitting recognition’ of John’s ‘tremendous contribution’ to community safety in Sussex.
She added: “Following an exemplary policing career that has taken him to Africa, the middle east and beyond to share British policing values and skills, John joined my office in 2014 to co-ordinate community safety and crime prevention work across the county with a huge range of partners.
“John has led on securing millions of pounds from Government funding to tackle anti-social behaviour and serious violence.
"He was responsible for establishing our nationally recognised and award winning Restorative Justice Partnership and running our youth crime prevention scheme REBOOT.
“I’m delighted that he has been recognised in the King’s first Birthday Honours List. It is a testament to his dedication and humility and his ability to bring partners together to make our county safer. It is a pleasure and a privilege to have him on my team.”